Nepal | September 25, 2020

India widens China app ban to cover more from Xiaomi, Baidu

REUTERS
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NEW DELHI, AUGUST 5

India has banned some mobile apps of Chinese companies such as Xiaomi Corp and Baidu Inc, three sources told Reuters today, in New Delhi’s latest move to hit Chinese companies following a border clash between the neighbours.

India in June outlawed 59 Chinese apps for threatening the country’s sovereignty and integrity’, including ByteDance’s video-sharing app Tik- Tok, Alibaba’s UC Browser and Xiaomi’s Mi Community app.

Another ban was imposed in recent weeks on about 47 apps which mostly contained clones, or simply different versions, of already banned apps.

Unlike its June move, the government did not make its latest decision public, but there are a few new apps that have made it to that list, including Xiaomi’s Mi Browser Pro and Baidu’s search apps, the sources said. It wasn’t immediately clear how many new apps have been affected.

India’s IT Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi did not respond to a request for comment. China has previously criticised India’s decision to ban the apps.

A spokesman for Xiaomi in India said the company was trying to understand the development and will take appropriate measures. Baidu declined to comment.

A ban on the Mi Browser, which comes pre-loaded on most Xiaomi smartphones, could potentially mean the Chinese firm will need to stop installing it on new devices it sells in India.

Xiaomi is India’s number one smartphone seller with close to 90 million users, according to Hong Kong-based tech researcher Counterpoint.

The bans are part of India’s moves to counter China’s dominant presence in country’s internet services market following a border clash in June between the two nuclear-armed neighbours in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.

India has also made approval processes more stringent for Chinese companies wanting to invest in the country, and also tightened norms for Chinese firms wanting to participate in government tenders.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 6, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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